Bee Cave housing market expands

326-unit Cielo apartments to open in May, officials say

A new 326-unit apartment complex, Cielo Apartment Living, is under construction at 3501 S. RR 620 near the Falconhead West subdivision. TDI Real Estate, based in Irving, has been working on the project, which is surrounded by the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, since 2011 and plans to take leasing information in the beginning of March when TDI will set up a trailer to begin taking applications, Schubert said.

The apartment complex, located near Bee Cave Parkway, sits on 38 acres of land in the Bee Cave extraterritorial jurisdiction.

"Cielo will benefit greatly from the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, which will be our neighbors to the north and east," Schubert said. "The fact that this area will never be developed means that our residents will always enjoy a protected Hill Country view."

Cielo will also only develop on 15 of its 38 acres, which will leave much of the current vegetation and foliage in place, he said.

The addition of the apartment complex will provide another affordable housing choice for the Bee Cave and Lakeway area, something that can be tough to find, according to Scott Morledge, president of Ash Creek Homes and developer of the Morningside subdivision.

Affordable housing in the Bee Cave and Lakeway area is a rare commodity, Morledge said.

Why Bee Cave?

TDI and its management team have completed approximately 20 residential communities in the Austin area during the past two decades and chose the site off RR 620 in part because of the rapid growth the community has seen in the past few years, Schubert said.

"We are excited about the growth that is occurring in the Bee Cave area," Schubert said. "We believe that a community like Cielo will provide residents with a high-quality rental housing option."

Schubert also believes that the proximity to shopping centers such as the Hill Country Galleria and Shops at the Galleria will be a draw to the apartment complex.

"We look forward to connecting with local business owners during the weeks and months to come," Schubert said. "It will be our goal to become an integral part of the neighborhood."

Residential property is an essential part of making retail property viable, said Adrian Overstreet, manager of the Hill Country Galleria on Hwy. 71.

"We're getting the residential density rapidly," Overstreet said of the growth in Bee Cave. "They are building houses out here faster than people would think possible. As those houses start to go up, people need places to work, they need retail, all those services."

Developing neighborhoods

Cielo isn't the only affordable housing in the Bee Cave area.

Morningside, a subdivision located just south of Falcon Head Boulevard, offers condos and houses that are clustered in separate sections at affordable prices Morledge said.

The condos are being built all at once with the houses being built as buyers purchase homes. Construction of the condos is estimated to take another year to complete.

Houses at Morningside are expected to cost around $250,000, and the condos, which are being developed by a Houston-based firm, will cost between $160,000 and $240,000.

Ladera Homes, located off RR 620, also provides more affordable housing. Ladera broke ground in November 2011 and offers homes $289,000 to more than $500,000. The subdivision is expected to have 260 single-family lots.

Taylor Morrison, developer of Ladera Homes, held a focus group in 2011 to see what prospective homebuyers were seeking in a home. Jeff Hudson, Taylor Morrison's vice president of sales and marketing, said that the company was working on finding out what was best for the market.

In 2009, the average home or condo price in Bee Cave was $565,935, according to City-Data.com, which compiles data for different cities.

The more affordable homes would be useful to people who work at the Lakeway Regional Medical Center, which opened in 2012, Morledge said.

"There are a lot of people that will work there that aren't brain surgeons making tons of money," Morledge said. "[Morningside] will work towards a lot of the housing needs for many [LRMC] employees."

The affordable housing will also provide needed residential options for retail workers at the Hill Country Galleria, Shops and the Galleria and other retail centers along the Hwy. 71 corridor and RR 620, Overstreet said.

Bee Cave has a nearly 100 percent occupancy apartment rental rate, and Lakeway has no apartment complexes, Morledge said. The LRMC campus has not yet started construction on a proposed 250-unit apartment complex.

Future development

While the 326-unit Cielo complex consists of a single phase with no plans for addition, TDI is not done developing in the Bee Cave area, Schubert said.

"We also plan to develop a second community directly to the west of Cielo," Schubert said. "We anticipate that construction on the new development will begin in April of this year."

TDI is currently submitting permits for the new development, listed as Phase 2, to the City of Bee Cave and will finish submitting permits by the end of March or April, Bee Cave City Engineer Giancarlo Patino said.

"They are looking at around an additional 220 units for the second phase," Patino said of the development just west of Cielo.



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